This cheerful piece was apparently written for Baron Thadeus von Dürnitz, whom Mozart met during preparations for the performance of his opera La Finta Giardiniera in Münich. Although there is no record of any payments made, written references suggest that Mozart wrote a number of bassoon concertos for the Baron, and it is generally assumed that this work was also intended for him.
Throughout the Sonata, the bassoon is given much of the melodic material, while the cello is relegated to the role of accompaniment. Written when Mozart was only 19 years old, and was trying to secure a position in one of Europe’s top musical centres, it has been suggested that this is an indication of Mozart’s deference towards the Baron, who was an amateur performer. Although the work is deceptively simple, its exposed dialogue and concise expression make it difficult to perform flawlessly. As Schnabel wrote; “The sonatas of Mozart are unique; they are too easy for children, and too difficult for artists”.